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The tasks and problem-solving methods used by an engineer in constructing a failure-management expert system from design information about the device to be diagnosed are analyzed. An expert test engineer developed a troubleshooting expert system based on device design information and experience with similar devices, rather than on specific expert knowledge gained from operating the device or troubleshooting its failures. The construction of the expert system was intensively observed and analyzed. The authors characterize the knowledge, tasks, methods, and design decisions involved in constructing this type of expert system, and make recommendations concerning tools for aiding and automating construction of such systems.